“Scratch Our Head” – Mercedes, McLaren F1 Bosses Confused By NBA, NFL Billion-Dollar Difference

Published 11/01/2021, 8:06 AM EDT
Feb 7, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrates during the fourth quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


There is no doubt that Formula One is an expensive sport, but McLaren’s Zak Brown has a difficult time accepting that F1 teams aren’t valued as high as the NFL.

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However, the American CEO believes with the backing of Liberty Media, Brown has faith that teams on the grid will grow financially, and might just be able to equal their valuation with NFL teams.

Zak Brown wants F1 teams to have the same valuation as NFL teams

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Formula One teams spend a lot of money throughout the season. Hence, Brown has a hard time accepting that they are not as big as football teams in America. In 2020, a deal was agreed between the Woking-based outfit and MSP Sports Capital worth £185m, which can grow up to 35% taking the valuation to £550m.

Being asked by The Race, Brown said, “There’s a lot of sports franchises, NFL, MLB, NHL, Premier League, NBA, etc that are worth billions.”

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 26, 2021 McLaren Chief Executive Officer Zak Brown during the press conference FIA/Handout via 

“If you look at the size and scale and importance of Formula 1, compared to these other leagues, you kind of scratch your head and go, why are some of these teams worth more than McLaren, Mercedes or Red Bull?,” Brown concluded.

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Stroll and Wolff try to understand Brown’s point about F1 teams valuation

It isn’t just the McLaren boss who is comparing F1 to other sports. It is also the team owner of Aston Martin, Lawrence Stroll, and Mercedes‘ boss Toto Wolff who try to understand Zak’s perspective.

Stroll said, “Ten years ago, an NFL team was worth a billion dollars. Today you can’t buy a franchise for less than four or five billion dollars.”

While Wolff said, “NBA teams or NFL is something that I understand better, the valuations are a sheer result of the revenue and bottom line figures,” said Wolff when asked by The Race about what a billion-dollar valuation would mean in real terms.”

Formula One F1 – Monaco Grand Prix – Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco – Mercedes Executive Director Toto Wolff in the FIA Press Conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS

So as a business case itself it’s highly attractive because you can discount future cash flows easily and I think when we turn into profitability, you can apply the same valuation metrics as your peer group. That’s why I agree with Zak. It’s down to our own revenue and profits.”

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With a budget cap being introduced into the sport, how do you think it will affect the teams’ spending? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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Arpit Gomes

1067 articles

Arpit Gomes is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Currently pursuing his Journalism degree from Xavier’s Institute, he is a big fan of McLaren and their driver Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo. Arpit always looks forward to the paddock moving to Spa and drivers dealing with the exciting Eau Rouge corner as well the straight at Monza.

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